Transportation moves us.
Jobs, school, health clinics, grocery stores, recreational facilities, and more would be impossible to get to without adequate service and infrastructure. But history shows that the benefits of transportation have not been distributed equitably, and historically marginalized communities have had to bear disproportionate costs from transportation as well. More recently, planners have taken up the challenge of creating a more equitable transportation system. Achieving this goal, however, can stand in opposition to other important goals like efficiency and effectiveness. It is not an easy task.
For this reason, City of Peoria Transportation partners joined with University of Illinois Extension and Department of Urban and Regional Planning as part of a spring community case study designed to explore more equitable models for neighborhood investment that will support the objective prioritization of public investment, providing a lens that realizes the multiple co-benefits of public infrastructure investment.
Case Study Process
Community & Economic Development educator Kathie Brown worked with faculty and transportation partners to design a community orientation process for students and faculty. Through a series of key informant interviews, literature reviews, and examination of previous transportation planning students developed a foundational understanding of local transportation equity issues. Utilizing both best practices utilized in other mid-sized cities to address issues of transportation equity and the knowledge gained through community study, student teams developed three different equity-based prioritization tools to help Peoria guide prioritization public infrastructure investments implementation with consideration for local historic and geographic disinvestment and other equity issues.
Extension and Campus Partnerships
University of Illinois Extension has been very intentional in its pursuit of building effective campus partnerships. This work continues to pay great dividends to our communities and students alike. The relationship built through this course with students, community partners, and the College of Fine and Applied Arts at UIUC are continuing this year with a student capstone study expanding on the initial work completed during the spring of 2020. Faculty and students alike recognize to adequately prepare for equity-oriented planning practice; they will need to engage for longer periods of time than can be afforded through one semester course. Peoria’s proximity to UIUC, exceptional community leadership, and the generous gifts of time and talent make this an ideal relationship with careful nurturing will no doubt continue to flourish.
Community Case Study Transportation Equity - Spring 2020 - UP 432
MEET THE AUTHOR
As a community and economic development educator, Kathie Brown worked with community leaders, government officials, volunteer groups, small business owners, and others to help communities become stronger and more economically viable. She focused on leadership and organizational development; local government education and relations; economic development strategies; participatory community planning/visioning processes; group process facilitation; collaboration and partnership building; public issue education; and understanding, using and developing data.
Prior to retirement in 2021, Brown worked with organizations and local governments to help them: (1) analyze and understand their needs, (2) identify alternative courses of action, (3) make informed decisions, (4) plan for the future and (5) evaluate their development efforts.
Kathie worked for Extension for almost 40 years, contributing to programs related to community health, digital literacy, STEAM education, and more.